Police are seeking DNA samples from all male staffers at an Arizona nursing facility in a push to identify the father of a baby boy born last month to a 29-year-old woman who’d been in a coma for more than a decade, according to multiple reports.
A statement from Hacienda HealthCare Tuesday said the company welcomed the move to investigate what it called “this deeply disturbing but unprecedented situation.” In the announcement, the company confirmed that Phoenix police had served a search warrant “to obtain DNA from male Hacienda HealthCare staffers.”
“We had consulted attorneys to determine whether it would be legal for our company to compel our employees to undergo DNA testing conducted through Hacienda or for Hacienda to conduct voluntary genetic testing of staffers,” the statement said. “We were told it would be a violation of federal law in either instance.”
Hacienda “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation,” Gary Orman, the executive vide president of the Hacienda board, said in a separate statement Monday announcing the resignation of Hacienda HealthCare CEO Bill Timmons.
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Hacienda HealthCare operates the long-term care facility for the developmentally disabled where the Native American woman, who has been in a vegetative state for 14 years after a near-drowning, gave birth on Dec. 29 to a baby boy, according to KPHO.
The woman was identified Tuesday by San Carlos Apache Tribe Chairman Terry Rambler as a member of the tribe, which confirmed in a statement that the woman, a patient at the Hacienda Del Sol nursing facility in Phoenix, “has been in a persistent vegetative state and coma for over a decade.”
“When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers,” Rambler said in the statement, which was obtained by multiple outlets. “Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her.”
“It is my hope that justice will be served,” Rambler said.
The woman’s family “obviously is outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare,” John Micheaels, an attorney representing the family, said in a statement emailed to media outlets after the DNA search warrant was confirmed.
“The family is well aware of the intense news and public interest in their daughter’s case, but at this time is not emotionally ready to make a public statement,” Micheaels said. “The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for.”
Phoenix police have not responded to PEOPLE’s request for comment on the case, and so far have declined to publicly discuss the investigation.
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